Broadband News

Huawei and Nokia chosen by Openreach for headend equipment

The hardware in the telephone exchanges across the UK and in particular the over 1,300 exchanges that are headend exchanges where the GPON FTTP services terminate along with the point to point fibre for VDSL2 and hardware are unseen but perform a critical roll in aggregating all the different services and also allowing the various wholesale operators to connect up and resell the services.

Today has Openreach announcing that Huawei and Nokia and their hardware for headend solutions has been chosen to help with delivering the promised three million premises of FTTP by the end of 2020. More specifically the Nokia ISAM FX-16 and the Huawei MA5800-X17.

We’ll be going flat out to make FTTP available to three million homes by the end of 2020, and we want to reach 10 million by the mid-2020s, so using cutting-edge technology will be integral to achieving that. Britons consume more than double the amount of data they did just three years ago and whilst we’re already a leading digital economy, Openreach continues to invest in network upgrades to make sure we can repeat that success and keep well ahead of demand.

Peter Bell, CTO & NGA Operations Director, Openreach

The Fibre First programme does appear to be getting underway, i.e. the amount of FTTP we are spotted each month has not collapsed to the same extent as VDSL2 did since the end of 2017 but there is clearly a lot more to be delivered, if the three million premises figure is to be reached. Openreach are declaring a combined and FTTP footprint of 1.5 million premises (our tracking has a figure of 895,000 and we believe we are around 70,000 premises behind on the FTTP footprint and 500,000 premises on the footprint but are catching up). On the pace of the FTTP roll-out we are seeing around 3,000 to 4,000 premises of Openreach FTTP per week rather than the 8,000 mentioned in the press release, but it maybe the press release is referring to a very recent acceleration of the programme thus it may be a number of weeks or a month or two for us to see this increased rate. One area we are waiting to see go live is 21 Whitefriars Street in the City of London which was the subject of much PR back in May as the first building of some 12,000 premises to get FTTP in the next year.

The ultrafast target footprint for the end of 2020 is 13 million premises (3 million FTTP) and we looked at the FTTP breakdown back in May 2018 and Exeter has been added to the list of eight cities that should see 1.7 million FTTP premises from Openreach. Some quick maths for the combined areas of Edinburgh, Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Cardiff, London, Bristol and Exeter suggests that there are some 754,000 premises without a superfast service from Openreach, so it seems likely that as part of the Fibre First programme even though we have not seen any sizeable overlay of the superfast part of the VDSL2 footprint to date that there are going to be people with 30 Mbps and better Openreach options today getting access to full fibre with its various speed up options including a 1000 Mbps down and 220 Mbps up service.


"Reaching" 3 million homes is hardly a big milestone. Surely that wording just means they are going to enable it in the exchange and not really build any new fibre at all :(

CitryFibre have apparently "reached" me for years but won't install as i'm not that 75 meters from their dark fibre connection that's been sitting there doing not very much since the 90s.

  • doowles
  • over 2 years ago

Would a "critical roll" be slightly gone off ham?

  • herbgold
  • over 2 years ago

Something scary have Chinese gear deep within our communication system! Same with Hinkley power station.

  • misterneil
  • over 2 years ago

I know which one I'd prefer to see at my Exchange, and it isn't Huawei.

  • crocks999
  • over 2 years ago

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